Roasted Pumpkin Stuffed with Saffron Chicken in Cream Sauce and Cream Cheese

Abóbora Recheada com Molho de  Frango de  Açafrão e Queijo Cremoso”

 

I really love this recipe, it is great to share with everyone in the fall, when pumpkins are in season in the USA.

It is very easy to make, and it is very delicious.  I have experimented with many types of pumpkins to find the closest one to a Brazilian pumpkin called “moranga”, and I like to use a Pumpkin called “butter cup”, but the recipe is absolutely delicious with any cooking pumpkin.

In the original recipe a Brazilian  creamy cheese called “Catupiry” is used,  but it is very difficult  to find here, so I have been using cream cheese instead. Although cream cheese does not have the unique taste of  catupiry, it gives you a good idea of what this dish is like.

Saffron is an expensive spice, so this dish can be made with turmeric.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium to large size cooking pumpkin
  2.  4 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
  3.  1 cup chicken broth
  4.  1/2 cup white or rosé wine of your liking
  5.  1 shallot chopped
  6.  2  garlic cloves chopped
  7.  4 cups heavy cream
  8.  1 package cream cheese cut into small pieces
  9.  1 lemon
  10.  1 tea spoon saffron or tumeric
  11.  a dash of nutmeg
  12.  salt and pepper
  13.  olive oil
  14.  2 table spoons butter
  15.  fresh parsleys chopped

Directions:

  1.  Heat oven to 400F.
  2.  Draw a circle around the top of the pumpkin and cut a lid. Remove the seeds. Drizzle inside the pumpkin: olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap the pumpkin with aluminun foil, leaving the opening uncovered. Place in a baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes or until soft inside. You can bake the cut lid as well to use the flash in the filling or as a lid.
  3.  While pumpkin is roasting, season chicken with lemon juice, salt, pepper and set aside. Sautée shallots and garlic in butter and drizzle olive oil. Add chicken and stir. When chicken is browning, add wine, broth and saffron/ turmeric; cover and let it cook until liquid reduces a little. Add heavy cream, nut meg, salt, and pepper to taste, if necessary. Bring sauce to a boil and remove from heat, set aside.
  4.  When pumpkin is ready, remove from oven ( leave oven on) and scoop approximarely a cup of the cooked pumpkin from shell and smash it with a fork. Arrange a layer of cream cheese pieces inside the bottom of the shell. Spread half of the smahed pumpkin on top, pour half of the chicken in cream sauce in the shell. Add the rest of the smashed pumpkin and pour the rest of the chicken with sauce, (If there is too much sauce to fit in the shell, save the extra sauce in a nice bowl to be added to the shell later to refill). Arrange the rest of the cream cheese pieces on top and place it back in the oven for another 30 minutes. Then broil for 4 minutes to get a crispy top. Garnish with fresh parseleys.
  5. Serve hot over white rice or by itself with a side salad.

Enjoy and Happy fall!

 

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Brazilian Shrimp Curry

Curry is not a typical Brazilian spice and it’s not commonly used; however, shrimp cooked in coconut sauce and seasoned with curry is very popular in the Brazilian kitchen. Brazilian shrimp curry is a fusion of Asian and Brazilian flavors and cooking styles. Some Brazilian shrimp curry recipes actually have no curry. They will use a blend of cumin, turmeric and coriander. I have a bag of a wonderful curry my youngest son brought me as a gift from his travels to Asia and I have been using this wonderful gift in my cooking whenever it’s called for. For this recipe, I used wild caught Argentinian shrimp, which has a mild and sweet flavor. It is my favorite. Brazilian curry can be served as a soup, but it is commonly served over white rice and a side of sautéed spinach on butter.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. raw shrimp
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • olive oil
  • 2 limes
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 5 ripe Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 cups butternut cut into small cubes
  • 1 large potato cut into small cubes
  • 2 large carrots thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
  • 1 finely chopped piri piri pepper with the seeds removed. (piri piri is above average in heat and kind of hard to find, so you can use a chilli pepper)
  • 1 cup frozen petit peas
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. curry
  • bunch fresh basil chopped or sautéed spinach
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook shrimp in boiling water for 5 minutes until nice and pink. Drain. Set aside to cool for a few minutes, remove shell and devein. Then, squeeze lime juice, sprinkle salt/pepper and drizzle olive oil. Mix it all together for even flavor. Set aside.
  2. Put the sauté shallots, garlic, and tomatoes with a generous amount of olive oil, in a big pot. When the tomatoes start to burst add carrots, butternut, potatoes and peppers. Stir to coat all vegetables and add vegetable broth. Cover and let it cook until carrots, butternut and potato are softer.
  3. Add tomato paste and ketchup. Stir. Then, add coconut milk, curry and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium, letting it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring ocasionaly until the sauce has thickened a little. This happens when the cooked potato and butternut release their starch.
  4. Wash ice off the peas and add them to the curry.
  5. Add shrimp and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and garnish the shrimp with basil or add sauteed spinach on butter. Why not add both?

Bon Appetit!

Baked Eggplant Bolognese

“Beringela assada ao molho Bolognese”

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Eggplant with Bolognese sauce is not typical Brazilian food but became part of everyday Brazilian diet. Italian Immigration to Brazil started in the 16th century but it was in the 19th Century that large numbers of immigrants, facing the industrial revolution in Europe, went to Brazil. Brazilian government and land owners offered land to farm as they were facing the suppression of the slavery system.

According to Brazilian government today, there are 31 million Brazilians of Italian descent. Brazilians of Italian descent have duo nationalities.  Italian identity and culture shaped much of the Brazilian culture after the Portuguese colonization.

This recipe celebrates the fusion of three nations. A popular Brazilian dish influenced by Italian cuisine and once again adapted to ingredients easy to find in the USA.

Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • fresh mozzarella
  •  shredded asiago cheese
  • 3 shallots
  • 1/2 onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup rose wine
  • fennel seeds
  • dried basil
  • fresh basil
  • 1 can 20 oz.  San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • agave nectar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cut eggplant lengthwise in thin slices and let it soak in water for 15 min, it helps cut the bitterness of the eggplant. Cut red pepper in large strips and set aside.
  3. Chop celery, half onion, 3 garlic cloves and fresh basil.
  4. In a sauce pan, add olive oil, the can of tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic  and stir until tomatoes start bubbling. Add salt and pepper and smooth it with an immersion blender. Add fennel seeds, dry basil,  fresh basil ( leave some for garnish), a drizzle of agave nectar and let the flavors incorporate at low heat. Cover and leave at low heat while preparing the meat.
  5. Chop shallots and the rest of garlic.
  6. In a sauce pan, add olive oil, ground turkey, shallots and garlic. Cover and let cook; stirring occasionally until meat is browned and water and liquids dried. Add wine, salt, pepper. more fennel seeds. Cover and let cook over medium heat until meat is completely cooked. Add meat to tomato sauce. Remove from heat.
  7. Drain the eggplant water.
  8. Drizzle olive oil all over a rectangular baking dish, approximately 13×9.
  9. Arrange the dish by making a layer of eggplant. Put enough Bolognese sauce over, then a layer of red peppers (it should take all the red peppers). Then put some more Bolognese sauce over the peppers and another layer of eggplant (should use the rest of the eggplant). Cover with the rest of the Bolognese sauce.
  10. Add slices of fresh mozzarella until completely covered. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper and dried basil. Top with shredded asiago cheese.
  11. Bake for 30 min.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Bom apetite!

Brazilian Shrimp Torte

 

 

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Torta de Camarao

 

This is a very popular dish in Brazil, it can be served as a main dish, side dish, party food.

This dish is also known as “Empadao de Camarao” and it is found in every bistro, served in big slices or in mini sizes,as finger food or appetizers .

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks) cold butter cut into cubes
  • 8 tablespoons ice water
  • shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk beaten
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound of cooked shrimp
  • 1/2 lime or Lemmon
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 1/4 of an onion finely chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced hearts of palms ( optional but highly recommended)
  • 1/2 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives ( optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 table-spoon flour

Directions:

  1. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of flour and salt to a food processor or to a medium bowl. Pulse or stir until combined. Add butter and process or use a fork to mix. Add remaining flour and mix until dough is crumbly. Add cold water and process or use hands to shape dough into a ball. If dough falls apart add another table-spoon or two of cold water and work the dough until  forms a ball.
  2. Remove dough from food processor or bowl, place it on a clean surface and divide dough in two halves. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, tomatoes and red pepper in olive oil,  cook until soft. Add shrimp, squeeze lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flakes. Then add hearts of palms, olives, fresh parsley and flour. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Pre heat oven to  350 F.
  5. Remove one half of dough from refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Open dough with a rolling-pin and place it on a round pie dish. Prick dough with a fork and place it in oven for 15 min.
  6. Remove from oven, place but leave oven on. Pour shrimp filling inside pie crust, set aside.
  7. Remove other half of dough from refrigerator and open with a rolling-pin on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on top of filling. Press the sides to close the edges. Brush the top with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle parmesan cheese. Make a cut like a cross in the middle with a knife. Place it on top of a cookie sheet and in the oven and bake for 35 min or until top is golden brown. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Shrimp and Hearts of Palms “Au Gratin” Camarão com Catupiry

This is a  very rich and creamy dish usually made on Sundays when family, extended family and friends gather for a big lunch. It is made with an unique type of cream cheese you can only find in Brazil, although it can be order on line these days, it is similar to a combination of Mascarpone , Mexican crema or heavy cream and cream cheese. It is called Catupiry.

Catupiry  was developed by Italians in the State of Minas Gerais but the name comes from a Brazilian native language “Tupi” and it means “excellent”. It’s an excellent cream cheese!

This dish is perfect served on top of white rice and butternut squash steamed

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb uncooked shrimp with tail on
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 jar or can of hearts of palms
  • 1 pkg of cream cheese
  • 1 container of Mascarpone cheese or 1 pint heavy cream or 1 cup Mexican crema
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 big size shallot finely chopped
  • 1 can  diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 bunch fresh parleys finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add shrimp let it cook for about 5 minutes or until  nice and pink, drain water, place shrimp in a bowl, melt butter and drizzle over.
  2. In the same pot used to cook shrimp, drizzle olive oil over a medium heat, add can of diced tomatoes, garlic and shallots. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream ( or crema , or mascarpone), cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Let it cook stirring constantly until bubbly. Then smooth with a hand mixer. Turn off heat and set aside. If you do not have a hand mixer, mix in a blender and return to pot.
  3. Remove shrimp tails and place shrimp in a rectangular 13X9 glass or ceramic dish.
  4. Drain water from hearts of palms cut them in slices and place them all over on top of shrimp.
  5.  Pour sauce over, sprinkle bread crumbs and shredded Asiago cheese over the top.
  6. Heat oven to Broil, place dish in oven and broil for 10 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.

Steamed Rice and Butternut

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1/2 butternut squash chopped in small cubes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • parleys for garnish

Directions:

  1. If using a rice cooker, drizzle with oil, add rice and chopped butternut, dissolve salt and garlic in water and add to the rice cooker, close top and set it to white rice. Once cooked, transfer to a plate and garnish with parsley
  2. To cook over the stove, drizzle oil in a pot turn heat to low, add rice, butternut and stir, then add salt and garlic dissolved in water, stir again and turn heat up to medium, cover pot and let it cook until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes but you need to watch in case water dries fast, then keep adding a bit of water as needed.

Feijoada: Witches Brew or Black Bean Stew

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For our Halloween special edition, we made eye balls with pickled red pepper, sour cream and olives. Totally optional!

“Brazilian Black Bean Stew” known in Portuguese as “feijoada” is a hearty combination of several different pieces of  beef and pork meat cooked with black beans. It’s usually served with white rice, finely shredded and sauteed collard greens , orange slices and garnished with tomato vinaigrette.

There are different views about the origin of this dish. The popular view is that this was a creation of slaves that were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese during colonial times. The popular view believes that, once the good parts of the meat were served to the slave owners, the pieces thrown away like the ribs and pigs feet would be used by the slaves and cooked in with the beans in a big iron pot.

However, some historians and food connoisseurs believe that feijoada is a variation of other European dishes that combine beans and meat like the cassoulet, which is a combination of white beans and meat substituting the white beans for black beans originated of South America. Others believe it was created in the XIX Century.

There has been a lot of changes to the classic recipe for feijoada and lighter versions are very popular without the pigs feet and other unwanted parts. In my recipe, I only use short ribs, chicken sausage and lean ready cooked bacon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of dry black beans
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 6 pieces of short ribs
  • 1 package of 4 smoked chicken sausages cut into thick slices
  • 6 slices smoked ready bacon cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Marinate short ribs with balsamic vinegar and sea salt, cover and place in refrigerator.
  2. Place beans, water salt bay leaves, onion powder, garlic in a pressure cooker over high heat until pressure builds, approximately 15 min. *
  3. Turn the heat to medium and let it cook for 1 hour. Then turn off the heat and let the pressure built cook for  for 30 min. Don’t open the pressure cooker until all steam is completely out.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil in a crock pot and transfer the beans. Cover, turn heat to medium and let it slowly incorporate flavor.
  5. Meanwhile, drizzle a large skillet with olive oil. Brown the balsamic-marinated short ribs and chicken slices. Cover and let them cook until balsamic becomes a glaze.
  6. Add meat and bacon to the crock pot. Turn heat to high and let it cook until beans are bubbly. If beans are too thick, add a cup of hot water.
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can use a crock pot. Start the cooking process the night before. Place beans, water, olive oil, salt, garlic, onion powder and bay leaves in crock pot at medium heat and let it cook overnight. In the morning, add hot water if necessary and turn heat to high; let it slow cook until beans are tender. Then proceed to cook meat and follow same steps.

For the vinaigrette you will need:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

To prepare:

  1.  Mix all ingredients in a nice ceramic bowl and garnish individually.

 

 

 

Brazilian Shrimp and Yucca Soup

 

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Bobo de Camarão

This is a traditional Brazilian cuisine known as “Bobo de Camarão.” It has African roots and it is mainly typical of the State of Bahia where a large number of African slaves concentrated during colonial times but it is largely found all over the nation ,everyone has a version of this dish. It is basically a mash of yucca roots, coconut milk and shrimp. It can be served over white rice or just by itself like a savory soup. Here is my version, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds raw, peeled shrimp
  • 1 lime
  • 2 pounds yucca root
  • 1/2 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or fish broth
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 4 ripped Roma tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large red pepper finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Bunch of chopped cilantro, parsley or basil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place raw shrimp in a bowl with juice of 1 lime, set aside.
  2. Peel yucca root, chop in cubes and place them in a pot. Add broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let them cook until very tender. Remove from heat and mash them. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a big pot (an iron pot would be just perfect). Saute onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic until soft. Add shrimp, when both sides turn pink add coconut milk, tomato paste and mashed yucca. Stir with a wood spoon.
  4. Add salt to taste, crushed red pepper and let it simmer over a medium heat until bubbly.
  5. Remove from heat and garnish with herbs.